Britain ends Gujarat boycott, envoy meets Modi
Marking the end of the decade-long no-contact policy with Gujarat after the 2002 riots, British High Commissioner James Bevan Monday met Chief Minister Narendra Modi and discussed new opportunities for collaboration.
Bevan met Modi in Gandhinagar with a small delegation for around 50 minutes, official sources said in New Delhi.
Bevan also met Gujarat Governor Kamla Beniwal.
Modi was quick to welcome the decision of British Prime Minister David Cameron to bolster relations with Gujarat.
"During the meeting, Modi, keeping in mind the large number of Gujarat origin people living in UK, urged him to start an office of deputy British high commission in Gujarat," said an official statement by the state government.
Modi also invited the British government to participate in 'Vibrant Gujarat Global Investors' Summit', his flagship project to spur state's industrialisation, to be held in January 2013.
"The envoy has accepted the invitation," it said.
On Oct 11, Britain had announced its decision to end its no official contact policy. "Der Aaye Durasta Aaye!! I welcome UK Govt's step for active engagement and strengthening relations with Guj. God is Great," Modi had written on his Twitter account.
In a press statement, Hugo Swire, the new British minister in charge of India, has asked the high commissioner to visit Gujarat and meet Modi and his senior cabinet colleagues.
"This will allow us to discuss a wide range of issues of mutual interest and to explore opportunities for closer cooperation, in line with the British government's stated objective of improving bilateral relations with India," Swire said.
Britain's turnaround comes a decade after the 2002 Gujarat riots, in which three Britons were killed.